Tag: technology

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Adventures with DVD ripping

Those who know me will know that I’m a bit of a cinephile. I love my movies. There’s not much I’d rather do of a Friday/Saturday evening than chill out with a takeaway on the sofa and watch a movie or two.

Consequently, over the years I’ve amassed quite a big collection of DVDs. About 550, to give you a rough guess.

Given the way that technology is moving, I thought it was high time that I bit the bullet and created digital versions of them all so that I can watch them across my network at home without having to arse about at the DVD shelf hunting for the right one or trying to make a decision (naturally, as you’d expect, they’re all in alphabetical order on the DVD shelf anyway, but it still takes time.)

So I’ve started ripping them all to my PC.

Using a combination of MakeMKV and Handbrake, the process isn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be, and I’m able to do quite a lot in a single day – I’ve been able to manage 40+ in a single evening before, so given an entire weekend I could feasibly get most of my collection sorted.

People have said to me, “Why not just download rips from <insert BitTorrent site here>?” and although I could do that (I think it would just about be seen as legal given that I own the DVD and it’s a “backup” copy) my OCD tendencies are coming into play, and I’m finding that I’m fastidious about the ripping process. It has to be high quality (using Handbrake’s “High Profile” preset), has to include the English subtitles (I have been conditioned since I was a kid to have subtitles on when watching movies and TV shows, even though my hearing is fine – odd fact!) and has to have the chapters defined. Most rips I’ve downloaded previously don’t meet these criteria, so it’s The Hard Way for me.

Still, once it’s all done, my life will be a lot easier, and my home will have a lot more free space when I put all the DVDs into storage!

Now, I just have to work out the best way of making them viewable on my TVs. Ideally I’d like a front-end like Plex or Xbox Media Center, but running from a NAS device. Any clues, people?

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iPhone 5 Confusion – A Balls Up!

If you read my post from this morning about my confusion ordering an iPhone 5, you’ll perhaps have noticed similar posts appearing on various technology/Apple blogs around the globe.

This morning, Apple’s store clearly stated that iPhone 5 orders would receive a bundled 30-pin to Lightning adapter. They even went as far as to suggest that you could purchase an additional adapter to ensure that you had "a second adapter for your home or office." That’s pretty conclusive as wording goes, there can be no argument that it meant something else.

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iPhone 5 Confusion

After Wednesday’s announcement of the hotly-anticipated (and widely leaked) iPhone 5, pre-orders opened today on the Apple Store websites around the world.

Despite saying that I wasn’t going to buy one, I have indeed caved and bought one – but only because I know I can sell my 4S for a substantial chunk of the cost of the 5, thus making it an almost-free upgrade. A no brainer really.

But whilst placing my order on the Apple site, I found myself getting very confused about just what was going to be included in my package…

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Automatic cat feeding

I’m going away shortly, and so far have not been able to find anybody free to feed my cats while I’m gone.

As I’m not overly keen on the idea of throwing them into cat prison (aka a local cattery) for a couple of days, I’ve been looking into the idea of automatic pet feeders.

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Guided Access in iOS6 Beta

One of the features that stood out to me during the iOS 6 announcement at the recent Apple WWDC 2012 conference was Guided Access.I’ve had to develop a few web applications for use on iPads and other iOS devices that are designed exclusively for use in kiosks or similar setups, and Guided Access sounded a bit like a "kiosk mode" – similar to the iPads you see in Apple Stores demonstrating product features.

The feature didn’t seem to work at all in the first release of iOS6 beta, but the update to beta 2 has given some insight into its operation now, and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed.

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Dropbox, Sharing and You

Here’s a lesson for the class – if at any time in the past you have ever shared a folder in your Dropbox, don’t forget that you’ve done it. Otherwise, anything you put in that folder will be beamed across to everyone who’s accessed it, and you might inadvertently give away something secret!

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